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Sex/Crime review at the Glory, London – ‘articulate, with a lethal sense of comic timing’

Alexis Gregory and Jonny Woo in Sex/Crime at the Glory, London. Photo: Jane Hobson Alexis Gregory and Jonny Woo in Sex/Crime at the Glory, London. Photo: Jane Hobson
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In a dingy basement, strategically coated in plastic sheeting, character A offers a specialist fetish service. For the right money, a punter can pay to play the victim of a notorious serial killer, whose reign of terror the police still haven’t been able to fathom. Character B has booked in for the climatically authentic experience but doesn’t understand when the deal falls short of actual murder.

Alexis Gregory’s new play Sex/Crime tackles the disturbing subject of gay serial killers, but in the process, his story reveals that fetishism isn’t just a reserve of the sexually adventurous. Society now fetishises everything and exploitation is merely a matter of perspective.

The play examines the subtle shifts in power between the master and his willing slave but the real joy here is Gregory’s startling gift as a writer. The rhythm and pace of the piece is almost poetic in nature but the cut and thrust of the dialogue is lethal. Orton is an obvious touchstone. Economy is vital and Robert Chevara’s sympathetic direction taps in to the violence of Gregory’s play with suggestion rather than realism. The humour is given free rein, however, and the punchlines crack with the precision of a well-aimed bullwhip.

It’s undoubtedly convenient that Gregory is also an articulate performer, bringing energy and an intimate understanding to the role of B. But that’s not to underestimate the exceptional work of Jonny Woo as A, who lends a martinet efficiency to the character, substantiating the humour and relishing the heightened drama throughout.

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Articulate and economic new drama with a lethal sense of comic timing